NFL Playoff Picture 2023-24: Updated AFC, NFC Standings After Week 17 Early Slate | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 31: Joey Blount #32 of the Arizona Cardinals intercepts a pass intended for Julio Jones #80 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 31, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles look anything but the Super Bowl favorite they were earlier in the 2023 season Sunday in a 35-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

The defense continued to struggle, giving up 449 yards of total offense, including an astonishing 221 on the ground. James Conner shredded the Eagles for 128 yards and a touchdown while Michael Carter, formerly of the Jets, averaged 8.1 on seven carries and found the end zone on a six-yard pass from Kyler Murray.

Murray completed 25 of 31 through the air for 232 yards and three touchdowns.

The one interception he threw, a 99-yard pick-six to Sidney Brown, was one of the few defensive highlights from an Eagles squad that looks more and more like a potential early out this season.

Jalen Hurts completed 18 passes for just 167 yards, but did find the endzone three times. He finished with a 118.4 passer rating.

The team’s inability to get the running game going has been problematic, too, given how significant it was to the overall execution of the offense a season ago. The Eagles were held under 100 total rushing yards again, against an Arizona defense that ranked last against the run.

The Eagles have to find an answer defensively. Against Arizona, the rush got to Murray just once, allowing him to use his feet and make the plays that wowed the Cardinals organization and made him the No. 1 overall pick. Without the rush getting home, the Eagles have been picked apart and beaten by teams they have no business losing to.

How they expect to compete against the best in the NFC in two weeks when they are dropping shootouts to a four-win Arizona team, is a question for head coach Nick Sirianni and his staff.

First appeared on bleacherreport.com

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